Serving the Airline Industry


About Scott

Scott McCartney has 40 years of experience as a national reporter, at The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal, as well as a contributor to television and radio programs. He spent nearly 30 years learning the ins and outs of airlines and travel, and chronicled the successes – and failures – of legendary CEOs such as Herb Kelleher, Gordon Bethune and Bob Crandall. Few know the wants and needs of frequent fliers as well as McCartney. He has studied loyalty programs, pricing, FAA and DOT regulation, air-traffic control, airline route strategy, and aircraft seats and amenities. He graded and ranked airline and airport operations for The Wall Street Journal, creating annual rankings that are widely followed. He has written extensively and influentially about all things travel in his popular Wall Street Journal weekly column, “The Middle Seat,’’ which he created and wrote for 20 years. The Middle Seat was one of the Journal’s most-popular news fixtures.

He currently teaches undergraduate business journalism and a graduate-level course on the intersection of Corporate America and government at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. He is also co-host, with Ben Baldanza, of the popular podcast “Airlines Confidential.’’ And he is a regular on-air contributor to “The Travel Detective’’ on PBS.

McCartney’s transportation coverage was named “Best in Business” in 2019 and 2022 by SABEW, the Society for American Business Editors and Writers. His transportation coverage has won a George Polk award, a Deadline Club award and an Online News Association best-online-column award. He was part of the Journal’s Sept. 11 coverage that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting. In 2022, the Dallas Press Club inducted him into its legends hall of fame.

McCartney is the author of four books including THE WALL STREET JOURNAL GUIDE TO POWER TRAVEL: How to Arrive with Your Dignity, Sanity, and Wallet Intact.

He also has been a leader in the non-profit volunteer world. He served for many years as chairman of Duke Student Publishing Co., publisher of The Chronicle student newspaper. He is a past president of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas, one of the largest Reform synagogues in the country, and helped lead a $32 million fund-raising and construction project as well as co-chairing Temple Emanu-El’s Sesquicentennial and $45 million endowment campaign.

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Power Travel
“From his more than two decades reporting and writing the must-read Middle Seat column for the Wall Street Journal, Scott gained widespread respect and admiration from top airline executives and road warriors alike. He harnessed his expertise and relationships to facilitate a compelling “fireside chat” with a major airline CEO at ONT’s annual State of the Airport conference. We look forward to encores based on audience feedback.”
Atif Elkadi
CEO, Southern California’s Ontario International Airport Authority

Other Books by Scott McCartney

Defying the Gods
Defying the Gods:
Inside the New Frontiers of Organ Transplants
Trinity's Children
Trinity's Children:
Living Along America's Nuclear Highway
ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies
of the World's First Computer